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Opinion | Protecting the Rights of Independent Contractors

To the editor:

Regarding “The ‘Gig’ Label Is Being Used to Exploit Workers,” by Terri Gerstein (guest opinion essay, January 29):

We are the freelance writers and editors that Ms. Gerstein mentioned and we are suing the Department of Labor over the independent contractor rule which, as she said, “will make it harder for employers to treat workers as independent contractors rather than of employees.” So let’s explain.

The Department of Labor acknowledges in its 339-page rule published Jan. 10 that most public comments made by independent contractors expressed opposition to the rule, “criticizing the Department’s proposed economic reality test as ambiguous and biased against independent contracting.”

There are currently more than 70 million independent contractors, making up a significant portion of the American workforce, and study after study shows that 70 to 85 percent of us want to remain self-employed. The independent contractor rule is just the latest in the Biden administration’s ongoing attack on our rights to be self-employed.

Like the vast majority of independent contractors in the United States, we choose self-employment. This rule, which will take effect on March 11, will restrict our right to enter into commercial contracts with our customers on our own terms. We hope the district court invalidates the rule and protects our careers.

Jen singer
Kim Kavin
Debbie Abrams-Kaplan
Karon Warren
The writers are the co-founders of Fight for Freelancers USA.

To the editor:

Terri Gerstein combines the sharing economy model with the independent contractor model and blames it for the evils and exploitation of independent contracting. and concert work.

Mrs. Gerstein uses the case of dishwashers exploited by a temporary employment agency. For such cases, federal and local statutes already in effect could address this minority of misclassification cases.

But to justify eliminating the autonomy, rights and earning potential of tens of millions of independent contractors, as the Department of Labor’s latest rule purports to do, Gerstein ignores the professional class of “individual entrepreneurs”: journalists, lawyers, emergency specialists. doctors, nurse practitioners and musicians, as well as small business owners who depend on this type of skilled professionalism to maintain and promote their businesses.

Gerstein barely mentions this class, which makes up the majority of independent professionals. Instead, he advocates for changes to laws and regulations that would ultimately do nothing to help low-wage workers, while doing great harm to true independent contractors.

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell
Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
The writer, a small business owner and independent contractor, is a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum Center for Economic Opportunity.

To the editor:

In my sixth decade of voting, I find myself with a different perspective. Age and electoral experience have made me a little less idealistic, just a little more realistic, and, frankly, a lot more scared.

The year 2016 changed things for me. I wasn’t too worried when Donald Trump first came down the escalator. I didn’t think he would ever win the nomination. And when he won Republican delegates, I thought that wasn’t a bad thing. He would be the easiest candidate to defeat.

Now only Nikki Haley stands between Trump and the Republican nomination. Do I fall again into the potential trap of believing that Trump is unelectable and that he is the easiest candidate to defeat?

President Biden has had incredible accomplishments, both at home and abroad. His policies are by far the best of any candidate and he wholeheartedly supports them.

But given the year 2016, should I expect Republicans to see the light and nominate Haley, who is far from perfect but, at least on the surface, far less dangerous than Trump?

I may not like the outcome of a Biden-Haley showdown, but at least the survival of our democracy, and maybe even the world order, would not be on the ballot.

Stephen Gladstone
Shaker Heights (Ohio)

To the editor:

Re “The Extinction Panic is Back, Just in Time,” by Tyler Austin Harper (guest opinion essay, January 28):

Harper wants us to feel reassured that real, life-changing threats to human well-being are nothing more than predictable bouts of “extinction panic” that temporarily upset global complacency. You know, take a deep breath and we’ll be fine.

I cannot predict how and when global warming will truly outpace our ability to mitigate its consequences, or whether AI-powered robots will ever replace human dominance. But I do worry about two specific disasters that could imminently shake our world and deserve more than a sort of “why do I worry?” academic dismissal as simply another cycle of extinction panic.

First, less than a year ago, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that we could soon face a pandemic much deadlier than Covid-19. Surveillance, prevention and research on the treatment of new pathogens now need to be intensified.

Second, Harper appears to dismiss the threat of nuclear conflict as simply a reduction in Cold War brinksmanship. Vladimir Putin’s finger is on the trigger of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, and North Korea’s unstable Kim Jong-un is increasingly obsessed with increasing his own arsenal.

On top of that, the other seven nuclear-armed nations are always on high alert. And we should be concerned that Russia appears to be withdrawing from one arms control agreement after another.

So no, Mr. Harper, this is much more than a simple outbreak of “extinction panic.” It’s the real deal.

Irwin Redlener
The writer, a pediatrician, is founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.

To the editor:

Regarding “Florida eliminates sociology as core subject” (news article, January 28):

When Florida’s state university system removed “Principles of Sociology” from its list of approved core offerings for college students, the point was not actually to protect innocent college students from “woke ideology,” as the state education commissioner claimed. , Manny Diaz Jr..

After all, Florida students had several options to fulfill the social studies requirement. Nobody forced them to study sociology; They could have easily taken something else. They elected him, in considerable numbers.

Sociology often focuses its attention on issues of inequality, race and gender, topics that the Florida government would apparently prefer not to mention. However, many college students welcome the opportunity to discuss and learn about issues of vital public and often personal importance.

The effect of eliminating this core credit will almost certainly reduce enrollments in sociology and therefore majors, perhaps preparing departments for elimination. The courses may disappear then, but the topics they address will remain, regardless of what Gov. Ron DeSantis wants.

Daniel F. Chambliss
Clinton, New York
The writer is professor emeritus of sociology at Hamilton College and co-author of “How College Works.”

To the editor:

Re “After 500 years, Mexican bullfighting faces a deadly challenge” (cover, February 4):

What kind of collective disconnection is needed for 42,000 people to applaud and celebrate while bulls moan in agony as swords are driven into their spines and they die in a pool of blood?

Philip Tripp
Largo, Florida.